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Big Island
Big Island, located in a beautiful area on the James River and at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the site of one of the county's newest libraries, elementary school. Big Island is the location of a Georgia-Pacific Corp. corrugated paper and liner board manufacturing plant employing 366 area residents. The community is located 18 miles northwest of Lynchburg on U.S. 501, which leads to Natural Bridge, Lexington and other communities.

Named for Daniel Boone, who visited his friend Richard Callaway in the vicinity before their adventurous trip to Kentucky, Boonsboro is located in northern Bedford County adjacent to the City of Lynchburg.

Through community volunteer efforts, Boonsboro recently constructed a new fire department and rescue squad facility with state of the art equipment.

Many affluent neighborhoods, a country club and fine retail establishments, shopping centers and restaurants grace the community. Like all other localities in Bedford County, Boonsboro boasts an elementary school.

Chamblissburg, located on Va. 24 on the westside of Bedford County, was first a post office in the store of William Chambliss. It was established in 1827 with Elias James as postmaster. Chambliss, who was the first merchant, established his store in an old log building known as the factory. When the store was torn down many years ago, a half pound stone was discovered which was used to weigh commodities in the frontier business.

Today, the village straddles a major commuter thoroughfare to Vinton and Roanoke. A number of businesses catering to the needs of travelers, such as grocery stores and gas stations are located there, as well as churches and many residences. Chamblissburg is served by the volunteer Stewartsville-Chamblissburg fire department and rescue squad.

Like Smith Mountain Lake and the west side of Bedford County, Forest is experiencing a record rate of growth in business, industrial and fine residential development.

Forest, near the City of Lynchburg, is the location of Poplar Forest, the Bedford County home of Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third President. The octagonal, brick home is the focus of a multi-million dollar national campaign to raise funds for its restoration. Poplar Forest is open to the public. One of the most historical sections of Bedford County, Forest was the site of the first county court, and the home of Jemmy Steptoe, first clerk of Bedford County and an ancestor of Lady Nancy Langhorne Astor, the first female member of the British House of Commons.

Named for the family of the Hon. John Goode, the community west of Forest on U.S. 221 retains much of its early rural character with beautiful, rolling farmland and restored homes dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Goode has a number of churches, some new residential developments, antique shops and small grocery stores, as well as a post office and an elementary school.

According to County records, Robert Hardy purchased 582 acres in the big bend of the Staunton River in 1803, establishing the village of Hardy. He carved some of the land into lots and sold them to several people in 1818. Hardy died in 1830 and after his death, a warehouse was constructed close to the river. But the boat trade which was to build up the town failed to come about, and the lots quickly reverted to farmland. Just a few miles outside of Vinton, Hardy is yet a rural community with farms, and wooded hillsides. It also is located close to Smith Mountain Lake.

Named for railroad magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers, who financed the building of the Virginian Railway from West Virginia to Norfolk shortly after the turn of the century, Huddleston is another Smith Mountain Lake area community in the throes of change brought by the lake.

The face of Huddleston is still rural, with picturesque farms at every turn. Yet closer to the shores of the lake, Huddleston has golf courses, lovely homes, townhome communities and recreational retreats. It is the site of Smith Mountain Lake State Park and the lake's only public beach and swimming area.

Like Moneta, Huddleston has a host of contemporary conveniences, among them grocery stores, churches, restaurants, a school and many retail establishments.

Situated about seven miles from the City of Bedford off U.S. 221, Lowry is named for Nelson Lowry, who donated land for a railway station.

Lowry is the location of several large farms and a sawmill.

Moneta, now a thriving village on Va. 122 south near Smith Mountain Lake, rose from a rural crossroads in 1880. John A. Thaxton Virginian Railway was completed through the town, bringing commerce from afar.

Until the construction of the 20,000 acre lake in the mid-1960s, Moneta was largely a rural community of canneries, farms and dairies. Today, that has changed dramatically. The lake, a retirement and recreational mecca, has created a population boom and businesses have sprung up to serve the thousands of people who call the lake home. Moneta boasts many retail stores, construction businesses, supermarkets, specialty shops, a library, restaurants, many active civic organizations, post office, elementary school, its own medical center, real estate offices and banks.

Located 13 miles west of the City of Bedford on U.S. 460, Montvale is yet another community of historic import and the reputed location of the Beale Treasure.

Surrounded on three sides by spurs of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montvale was founded as Bufordsville, named for Captain Paschal Buford of Locust Level, who gave land for the railroad and a depot. During a landboom of 1890, the village name was changed to Montvale. An Indian mound is on the south bank of Goose Creek and a colonial fort once stood nearby.

Several petroleum companies have fuel terminals in the community, which also has a number of stores, a community center and elementary school.

Like Chamblissburg, Stewartsville to the west is located on Va. 24. Many businesses line the highway, among them convenience markets and a large flour mill.

Stewartsville is served by a volunteer fire department and rescue squad and an elementary school.

Once a farming community known as Crossroads, Stewartsville was established in 1842. A post office was placed in the general mercantile store of Samuel Stewart and the name of the town changed to Stewartsville.

Near Vinton and Roanoke, the Stewartsville area is experiencing burgeoning growth in business and residential development.

The village of Thaxton, six miles west of the City of Bedford off U.S. 460, was named for David Thaxton, who contributed land for a railroad and depot. It was first called "Thaxton's Switch", or "The Switch", for trains met and passed at the site. A catastrophic train wreck occurred in Thaxton in 1889. A cloudburst washed out the railroad fill just east of the train station, leaving the rails and cross ties suspended. At midnight, an eastbound passenger train plunged into the opening, derailing the train and killing and injuring many of the passengers. Still a rural community, Thaxton boasts several small grocery stores, apple orchards, farms, a community center, elementary school, churches, and many active civic groups.

Villamont, located three miles west of Montvale on U.S. 460, is the old Buford's Gap of stagecoach days and was originally on an Indian trail through the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 1801, James Ripley petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for the right to sell part of his land for the building of a town called Peel Brook. The land was laid out in lots, but a town never materialized. The community was called Peel Brook in honor of a Dr. Peel, who, tradition says, came to Virginia from England allegedly because he had slandered the king, and settled in Bedford County. The Peel house, built of logs, was torn down in 1938.

Many years later, iron was discovered in the mountains and the town renamed Ironville. It then gave the promise of becoming a health resort because of its pure water and fresh mountain air. A hospital for tuberculosis patients was built and several homes sprang up. After a few years, mining was discontinued and the village suffered another setback. Around the turn of the century, real estate speculators became interested in the possibilities of the valley and its mountainsides as suitable locations for those in search of health and fitness and again its name was changed, to poetic "Villamont". It was advertised throughout the country with stories and photographs setting forth its rejuvenating elements and healthful attractions. Families began moving in from everywhere, from Canada, from many of the United States, and some from abroad. With few exceptions they remained. In 1923, a community church was built where all could worship.

Strawberry Baptist Association
P.O. Box 91
Bedford, Virginia 24523

Tel.: (540) 586-8345

Copyright© 2001 SBAVA -- Updated 8/2/2001
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